It’s almost hay season around here. Sure the weather is still warm but with the daylight decreasing our grass will slow down on growth over the next few weeks. This means our horses will need more hay. There’s good news and bad news on the hay front.
Good news: We have had more than enough rain this summer which means many pastures have done very well growing grass. You will be able to get by longer without hay as your horse grazes down what they have. This isn’t true for all situations, but check your pastures for actual grass and monitor how they are doing weekly. If you notice your horse starting to pull up grass by the roots, bare patches in your field, or weight loss in your horse it may be time to add more hay. Not sure what the right answer is for your horse? Have one of our amazing technicians: Beth, Charly, or Nancy come out and assess your pastures and feed program.
Bad news: We have had more than enough rain this summer which means farmers had to race against storms to try to get hay put up. Check with your regular hay supplier early to see what availability they have. Local hays may be difficult to get. Luckily farmers are farmers and they watch the weather more closely than Dr. Lacher (which is saying something since she has been known to check the radar every 5 minutes). So while hay may be a bit tougher to find most of them should be able to take care of their regular customers.
Coastal hay has a bad reputation when it comes to colic. Some of that is earned. Horses on lots of coastal and nothing else will often colic. Horses suddenly put on a round bale of coastal will colic (especially if this happens after 6pm on a weeknight or anytime on a weekend). Luckily there are easy ways to minimize your coastal hay colic risk.
Most important: gradually increase your horse’s hay. If your horse isn’t normally on hay during the summer now is the time to gradually start them on hay. Begin with 3-4 pounds of hay per day. Increase by about 1 pound weekly until your horse is leaving some hay behind. Once they are leaving hay you may put out a round roll of hay if that’s your feeding preference. Once your horse is on 8 pounds of coastal hay daily you should add in about 2 pounds of alfalfa or peanut hay daily. Alfalfa and peanut hays draw water in to the intestinal tract helping reduce the risk of colic.
Don’t feed coastal? We’ve got a plan for that too. Northern Grass and grass/alfalfa mix hays are excellent choices for many horses. Timothy, Orchard, and Brome hays are the most common grasses. You don’t have to worry about colics due to hay with these types of hays and they provide more nutrition than coastal hay. But they provide more nutrition than coastal hay and sometimes that’s too many calories. For the easy keeper or Insulin Resistant horse we don’t recommend more than 2-3 pounds of these hays per day added to a base of a coastal.
Want to get the most out of your hay dollar? Consider some type of feeding system. Slow feed hay nets come in sizes from a flake or two to an entire round roll. Hay nets have numerous benefits including slowing your horse down which makes your hay last longer, decreasing the calories they consume from hay, keeping them eating small amounts for longer, keeping their feet, manure, and urine out of the hay, and keeping them from stuffing their nose in the bale which often causes problems with allergies. We haven’t found a reason not to use these hay nets yet. One of our technicians, Nancy, began using them on her coastal round bale and got an addition 10 days out of the roll and her two older horses were able to stop taking medication for their heaves since they couldn’t stick their noses into the bale. If hay nets aren’t your thing check out YouTube for about a million different slow feed hay DIY options. Check out this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7Ws8–3IOU for starters.
We are here to help you design the perfect nutritional system for your horse, your life, and your farm. Gives us call, e-mail, or text!
For starters, I went and got married. It was a great day with everyone in costume, amazing cake (very important with my sweet tooth), and fantastic pizza from Villagios (also important). In typical Dr. Lacher fashion I did things a little weird. We took a bit of a honeymoon pre-wedding since Dr. Vurgason is expecting her first child any moment now. I asked Baby Vurgason to wait until after the wedding to appear but now we are ready and she can come any time!
I don’t know about you guys but I am officially ready for Fall! I love Summer but like all things we love too much is not a good thing. My horses are all hairy and need clipped but doing that while sweating is just no fun!
With the time change we are now relegated to riding in the very tiny area where I have some light. This always involves spooking at the imaginary dragons that live just outside the lit area. Good times!!! At least there is Pumpkin Spice everything to make it all better.
In this month’s Tech Corner, I’d like to talk about what tending to Coby’s wounds has taught us. Coby is the horse who fell through the floor of the horse trailer approximately 3 months ago. The bones were exposed on both hind legs and one tendon was torn.
The first thing we all learned is the importance of working with dedicated owners who are willing to devote the time and effort necessary for the patient to make a full recovery. This includes following the directions and time line set forth by your vet which is best determined by IMMEDIATE consultation with your vet. Coby’s owners did an excellent job! The second thing we learned is that good old well water does amazing things! Lots and lots of “shower effect” hosing of the wounds clean them quite nicely and helps reduce swelling and discomfort. We were able to experiment with amnion, provided by another client, and discovered that it does not attach to bone but loves granulation tissue. We also used a dressing called Cica care, which accelerated the healing process dramatically.
The bottom line is, if you’re going to have horses who are allowed to be out and act like horses, you are going to have wounds. Coby had severe wounds which had all of us holding our breath but with diligence, the right materials and guidance, MOST wounds that we see can heal nicely.
Events of the Month:
Springhill Equine has had a very busy October…..hence the reason the Naughty Pony News Letter from October is late.
So if you have not already heard, the Open House on the 20th was a huge success! Thank you to all the Vendors and Contributors who helped to make it a great one! Thank you for all the participation from our clients!!
October 24th Dr Lacher and Justin Long shared a very special day with all of us! Congratulations and well wishes for a lifelong happiness together! It was a very unique event with all the costumes appropriate for Halloween right around the corner.
Dr Vurgason is impatiently waiting the arrival of her new baby girl. So she has been on maternity leave for a couple of weeks now. We will post some pictures of mom and baby when she arrives.
November 17th @ 6:30pm
Please join us at our clinic 22837 NE 22nd Ave Newberry, Fl
Wellness 2016 Enrollment is HERE! You should have received the paperwork in the mail! If you did not. please call our office.